Posted on July 11, 2012 by vicki

Day 1 6/7/12 Vienna to Bratislava 84km

We started our cycle trip along the same route that we took from Vienna last year. We rode along the Danube Island for a while, before crossing to the north bank. Past the nude sunbathers and on to the floodbank, where the path is long and straight with no shade. It was pretty hot riding (the temperatures have been mid to high 30s for the past week) and we stopped for a drink at a nice biergaarden along the way.

Cycling along the Danube floodbank out of Vienna

Instead of turning off the Danube at Hainburg, as we did last year, this time we continued along the Danube, crossing into Slovakia to go to Bratislava. We passed quite a few corn fields and sunflowers.

Cycle path near Hainburg, Austria Sunflowers in Austria

Once in Bratislava we had a nice lunch before finding the tourist info. The cycle to camping was along some pretty hairy roads with less accommodating drivers than we have been used to lately. The camping was quite nice, next to a lake that was very popular for swimming. I had a quick swim to cool off, it was wonderful.

After tea we listened to a Slovakian rock band for a little while that was playing at one of the cafes in the camping.

Day 2 7/7/12 Bratislava to Asványráró 88km

After looking around the centre of Bratislava a little in the morning we continued along the Danube route. As it was a Saturday, there were lots of people out cycling and rollerblading along the path. We crossed the Hungarian border and immediately got lost (we weren’t able to find a decent map of Hungary in Bratislava so were just hoping that the cycle route was well-signed). After a bit of off-road cycling and backtracking we found our way again.

A square in Bratislava

A square in Bratislava

We spent most of the day cycling in the Szigetköz region of Hungary, which are the wetlands close to the Duna (Danube) river. We were mainly following quiet roads. It was again very hot with little shade. We reached the town of Mosonmagyaróvár mid-afternoon. It is a nice historic town but the streets were almost deserted (the shops were closed for Saturday afternoon and everyone was probably off swimming or hiding from the heat). We were very happy to find that there were several arches spraying water mist along the road that we could ride through, it was just what we needed.

Slovakian-Hungarian border

Slovakian-Hungarian border

In a town not far from Mosonmagyaróvár, we noticed a lot of people congregating on the main road, with the police stopping traffic in both directions. It turned out that a wedding was just finishing up in the church, and we watched while a group of traditional Hungarian dancers performed for the newlyweds. There was a bit of a ceremony afterwards that involved the groom pouring a bottle of something alcoholic over the head of the chief dancer. Most of the town seemed to be there watching. After riding for a couple more hours through farmland along a nice cycle path we camped in a small camping ground in Asvanyráró. It was next to a small creek and there was also a group of kayakers camped there.

Traditional dancers at Hungarian wedding Day 3 8/7/12 Asvanyráró to Komarom

We got a fairly early start due to the heat. We bought some stuff for breakfast along the way and stopped to eat on the bank of the Mosoni-Duna river. After a bit more cycling we reached Gyór, the capital of the region. It was a really attractive town, with wide paved streets and some nice buildings. Some sort of festival was happening, so the entire centre was overrun with families with small children. We had an icecream, got a cycle map from the tourist info and kept going.

Building in Gyór

Building in Gyór

The day’s route mostly took main roads, but they weren’t too busy. We got to Komarom, a town that borders Slovakia to the north, in the afternoon and found a camping attached to a hotel that was okay.

Day 4 9/7/12 Komarom to Budapest 141km

Another early start as our tent got the morning sun. The day started out a lot cooler than the previous days, but soon warmed up. We got to ride on a lot of cycle paths this day which was good.

We stopped in Esztergöm for icecream. It had a really nice basilica at the top of a hill which we rode around. We kept following the Danube as closely as possible, riding along the bank itself for a good stretch. We stopped for a quick swim to cool off.

Esztergom centre Swimming spot on the Danube

Later we crossed the Danube by ferry, meeting a Belgian couple who were also touring and practising our Dutch a little. We continued riding on the north bank, following the signs to Budapest. At one stage the route wound through suburban streets, but most of it was along the bank of the river and through a few forests.

Cycling along the Danube in Hungary Danube river in Hungary

We came into Budapest on a fairly large route, but once we were in the city itself there was a fairly good cycle network. We were lost as we had no city map, but an Aussie guy living in Budapest came along on his bike and looked up hostels on his phone for us.

The hostel we are staying at only operates in July and August - the rest of the year it is a university college. It’s in a good location, however it’s quite hot and noisy. We set off again on our bikes tomorrow in the direction of Lake Ballaton, and will write about Budapest next time.